“Who did Mueller sleep with?”

Outgoing MAS CEO Christoph Mueller recent statement to German media about some of the staff “Were sleeping on jon” the justification why 6,000 persons thought to be the more productive ones of the now defunct national carrier previously known as Malaysia Airlines Berhad, irritated some of the affected professionals.

Malaysiakini story:

Outgoing CEO: Many MAS employees were doing nothing, some sleeping

136 comments Published 17 Jun 2016, 4:16 pm Updated 17 Jun 2016, 9:29 pm

Outgoing Malaysian Airlines Bhd (MAS) CEO Christoph Mueller said he had to cut 6,000 jobs because many of the 20,000 employees were “doing nothing”.

He said he was not impressed with the state that MAS was in when he first took over the Malaysian flag carrier.

“Despite all the announcements by the government, a turnaround wasn’t initiated by the time I became CEO.

“Many of the 20,000 employees who worked for the airline had nothing to do. In fact, when I walked through the hangars, people were sleeping. That’s why I had to radically cut 6,000 jobs,” Muller told German broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) on its web portal.

He said MAS was in dire straits before he took over because of poor personnel management and a bloated workforce.
He said that was why he laid off 6,000 workers and streamlined the firm’s operations.

Mueller said MAS also suffered from a bloated and overpriced supply chain, partly because the airline bought products from suppliers at prices 20 to 25 percent higher than the market value.

“Everything from pens to US$200-million aircraft were purchased at these rates. I am not saying that we were bad negotiators, and in any case corruption is punishable also in Malaysia,” he told DW, delicately explaining the matter.

Mueller also pointed out that MAS had about 20,000 suppliers and, as a result, the glut made it difficult for the airline to get a volume discount from anyone.

“Since I took over, we have managed to downsize the number to about 4,000 suppliers. But our goal is to cut it further to some 2,000. By doing this, we’ve reduced our procurement costs,” he said.

He noted that the airline has had a spate of bad luck in recent years – the disappearance of MH370 and shooting down of MH17 that gave it bad press – but expressed incredulity that the carrier could have been in the red at all.

“Malaysia Airlines has a proud heritage. It’s known as the epitome of Asian customer service. Given the country’s macroeconomic conditions, with economic growth averaging over five percent for 55 years now, it’s difficult not to make money with this airline,” he said.

He observed that the previous so-called turnaround plans announced for the airline were half-hearted at best.

However, Mueller is confident that with the management reforms he has put in place, MAS will be in the black again by 2018.

The German will officially step down in September this year – well ahead of his initial three-year contract, citing personal reasons.

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Mueller statements irked many, who are known to the rising star within Malaysian Airlines were made to leave since the exercise to terminate the 6,000 staffs came from the winding up of the original formerly listed company and the setting of an SPV.

“If Mueller said we were sleeping on the job, let me ask who is he sleeping with?”, remarked a veteran of Malaysia Airlines of 27 years service before he was summarily sacked because of Khazanah’s corporate manoeuvres.

He was believed to be referring to a rumour about a CEO of GLC who summarily resigned despite non completion of contract period after his wife found out about his extra-marital affair.

Mueller’s other justifications about Malaysia Airlines’ poor financial position is about acquiring equipments and goods from vendors, which is 15-20% higher than market value.

That is quite baffling because since almost 20 years ago, Malaysia Airlines is a plc listed on then Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange (now Bursa Malaysia). Being a plc means there stringent processes of acquisition through the tender board, board pf directors and perhaps on some assets like aircrafts, involving Khazanah and Ministry of Finance.

These processes then had to under a series of audit process, either internally which the management eventually had to answer to the audit committee and a statutory external auditor.

Under Mueller, Malaysia Airlines Berhad shed a lot of its traditional routes which include Amsterdam and Paris and the new carrier is focusing of becoming a regional airline.

“If Mueller said we slept on the job and now we are no longer there, how is the company getting along? Is he making encouraging profits?”.

Now that Mueller is not even completing his contractual term, if it is true that what he said about the untimely termination of 6,000 staffs last September and 6,000 more expected by this September would eventually be the net loser to the German’s and Khazanah;s corporate games.

Published in: on June 18, 2016 at 16:00  Leave a Comment  

E-M(ahathir)ancipation

Proton would see a transformation of a new leaf there on, now founder and dictatorial remote-controller Fourth Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad is completely out of the picture after 33 years.

Malay Mail Online story:

Era of Dr M’s meddling in Proton over, says Najib

 

PUTRAJAYA, June 14 ― Proton Holdings Bhd is entering a new chapter where it will no longer face the interference of politicians such as Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

At the launch of the company’s new Perdana sedan today, Najib said such meddling in the decision-making process at Proton was why the carmaker needed billions in government assistance to remain viable.

“There has been too much political interference in Proton’s strategy, management ― including of personnel ― and business model. We saw the results of that early this year. A manufacturer which should be a source of national pride was facing a very difficult situation.

“Now, I am pleased to say, there have been significant changes at the top levels of Proton. Tun Mahathir’s era of political interference has come to an end,” Najib said.

MORE TO COME

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Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak said this during the launch of Proton’s flagship model Perdana.

He also wanted Proton to be less reliant on the domestic market but also explore the opportunities as a car for the export market.

NST story:

Proton must become less reliant on Malaysian buyers, says Najib

 

BY AZURA ABAS – 14 JUNE 2016 @ 11:16 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: Proton must become less reliant on Malaysian buyers and build up a strong export programme. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, addressing the future of Proton, said the government’s assistance to the national carmaker was subject to conditions, such as the company identifying a strategic foreign partner.

The government in April had approved a RM1.5 billion loan to Proton Holdings to enable the company to pay for components that had been supplied. The loan, Najib stressed, was not a bailout as it came with strong conditions.

“We stepped in because the well-being of the people is always our first concern. We will never fail to support Malaysian workers and suppliers. We will always fight to ensure that no one is left behind.

” The assistance was conditional on Proton meeting stringent standards of professional management going forward; ensuring that the company has a model for long-term sustainability; and immediately identifying a strategic foreign partner.

“The loan was not a blank cheque. The company must prove itself, both in the domestic and the international markets. Ultimately, Proton must build up a strong export programme and become less reliant on Malaysian buyers.”

The prime minister was speaking at the launch of the all-new Proton Perdana today. The Perdana, now in its fourth generation, is developed via a strategic collaboration with Honda Japan Ltd. It is priced at RM113,888 for the 2.0 variant and RM138,888 for the 2.4 variant. It has already received around 900 pre-bookings. The company expects to sell around 3,000 units by year-end.

Read More : http://www.nst.com.my/news/2016/06/151789/proton-must-become-less-reliant-malaysian-buyers-says-najib

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Recently Malaysian Government agreed to provide Proton with conditional financial packages to the amount of RM1.5b, to alleviate its current and strategic issues.

Proton is required to revamp and restructure its management and use some of the provided funds to immediately address working capital issues such as long list of local vendors’ debt.

The company which started as the National Car Project is expected to find a strategic partner, to ensure the required investments for research and development, which is deemed necessary for products to remain relevant in a very competitive market.

Proton market share in Malaysia dropped from its peak of 76% in 1993 to the current 18%.

Proton also is expected to improve its marketing programs, to ensure the current products market acceptability.

Published in: on June 14, 2016 at 12:00  Comments (6)  

Playing with three sticks

The buzz being whispered about town going back and forth between market punters, gossipers and arm-chair analysts that the sudden departure of a CEO of a GLC with “Personal issues” as the excuse, is about a very delicate if not intimate ‘personal matter’.

The strange bit about the resignation that the man is only letting go of his executive function and responsibility but remained as a member of the Board of Directors (BoD).

The said married man is believed to have discovered for an intimate relationship, here in this country. It is also believed that the matter has been brought up to the attention of some of the BoD members, by his own spouse.

Across the board, this is the second surprise announcement made regarding key personalities of GLC within the Khazanah Group.

Earlier was CIMB Chairman Dato’ Seri Nazir Razak, who decided to take leave from CIMB (nothing said about Khazanah) after the recent Wall Street Journal revelation of his personal involvement of political funds channeled of the amount USD7 mil. The buzz-cock suddenly felt it was the ‘right thing to do’ (to go on leave pending investigations), for a brotherly favour he did at the same time his eldest brother Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak was handling USD690 mil of donations, believed for political purposes.

The said CEO who had summarily resigned only completed eight and half month stewardship of a New Co. which was formed as part of the turn-around and rationalisation plan, is said to have signed a contract for three years of service.

Whether issue of morality is part of the consideration for him to remain as BoD, to serve for the remaining duration of contract cannot be ascertained.

However, at the rate of the gossip it is bound that the matter would eventually be raised by some of the 6,000 (mostly able and very productive loyalists) made redundant of the Khazanah plan to revive the GLC, in the rough tones of “They put a fucker in charge, after our lives were fucked!”.

After all, most of the 6,000 made jobless are people with families, of Malay-Muslim conservative background where infidelity is a major morality matter.

Published in: on April 20, 2016 at 17:00  Comments (3)  

Credit worthy and RM200b GDV

In the disbelief of those who thrives on controversies, scandals, conspiracies and refuse facts, 1MDB actually resolved their financial issues of “Mismatch of asset acquisition and cashflow to serve borrowings”.

The ‘Rationalisation Plan’ which President and Group Chief Executive Director Arul Kanda Kandasamy presented and got Cabinet approval on 29 May 2015, had proven effective to resolve all financial issues clawn into the Group’s coffer as a result of poor commercial decisions.

Slightly less that two weeks ago, 1MDB President Arul already pre-empted that all the financial issues of the strategic investment company fully owned ny Ministry of Finance Inc would be resolved very soon.

The Star story:

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Arul Kanda: 1MDB to announce other debt payments within weeks

PETALING JAYA: 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) will make announcements on its other debt payments in two to three weeks, says its president Arul Kanda Kandasamy (pic).

He said the 1MDB had not incurred any new debt and would be paying off its current debts.

“In the next two to three weeks, we will be making announcements about us paying our debts,” he said in an interview with Astro Awani.

Arul Kanda said that he was brought into 1MDB to help rationalise the debts of the investment fund, among others.

Among the steps 1MDb would be taking in the future was to avoid adding on to its debts, he said.

“We won’t start any new project. We will increase monitoring of the governance of 1MDB,” he said, adding that another way to move forward was by co-operating with the investigation on the investment fund.

He said that the decisions made about 1MDB were similar to dealing with “a house after an earthquake”.

“The impact is on the structure of the house and the residents are our projects such as Edra (Edra Global Energy Bhd) and TRX (Tun Razak Exchange).

“We have made a choice to ask the residents to move out,” he said, referring to the sale of Edra and the plan to sell TRX.

He admitted that the investment fund was facing several problems but insisted that the issues were purely about business.

“It’s true that there are issues within 1MDB but they are business issues.

“They should not have been politicised,” he said.

Such politicisation of the situations facing 1MDB had caused confusion and anger among Malaysians, he added.

When asked about financier Low Taek Jho, known as Jho Low, Arul Kanda said that he was not related to 1MDB but its predecessor, Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA).

“He left in May 2009 before the Finance Ministry took over TIA and changed it to 1MDB,” he said.

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Like a rail service, they did exactly that and on time. In the past two weeks, 1MDB has made a total repayments of RM4.6 billion as part of its successful rationalization plan.

1MDB President Arul Kanda has said the state-owned company will not have any more short-term debt and bank loans after the repayments.

It will have a cash surplus of at least RM2.3 billion after settling the debt.

Media statement on the RM950 million standby credit facility provided by the Government:

REPAYMENT OF RM950 MIL STANDBY CREDIT FACILITY

1MDB Media Statement 8 April 2016 —

1MDB is pleased to announce that its subsidiary, Plenitude Mentari Sdn. Bhd., has repaid in full, all the principal and interest, for the RM950 million Standby Credit Facility provided by its ultimate shareholder, the Government of Malaysia. This facility was entered into on 27 February 2015, further to the strategic review announced on 18 February 2015, as a direct response to the cash-flow mismatch faced by the company.

The Standby Credit Facility helped to stabilise the company, at a time when it was under severe attack from multiple parties and had no other financing options. With the stability, 1MDB and MoF Inc. were then able to develop and implement the rationalisation plan, the success of which has resulted in the Standby Credit Facility being repaid in full.

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The media statement on the repayment of the Powertek Group acquisition, which is a substantial amount of RM3.0 billion Syndicated Term Loan Facility has been settled.

RM3 BILLION LOAN REPAYMENT

1MDB media statement 1 April 2016

1MDB is pleased to announce that its subsidiary, Powertek Investment Holdings Sdn Bhd, has fully settled the remaining RM3.0 billion balance of an RM3.5 billion Syndicated Term Loan Facility.

The loan facility was entered into in May 2014 with a syndicate of domestic banks, led by Maybank. It has now been fully prepaid, in advance of the original maturity date of May 2024, as part of the successful 1MDB rationalisation plan.

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The media statement of the RM700 million syndicated term loan facility:

REPAYMENT OF RM700 MILLION SYNDICATED TERM LOAN FACILITY

1MDB Media Statement 25 March 2016

1MDB is pleased to announce that its subsidiary, Edra Energy (Langat) Sdn. Bhd., has fully repaid an RM700 million Syndicated Term Loan Facility to a consortium of domestic banks, per the terms of the loan agreement.

The loan was first drawn in 2012 to partially finance 1MDB’s acquisition of its energy assets.

This debt repayment and overall debt reduction is a tangible result of 1MDB’s successful rationalisation plan.

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Group President Arul and his leadership, very much rationalized, restructured and resolved all the assets of 1MDB Group and served all its financial commitments, with substantial bits to spare.

All these productive moves and progress are made within less than 1year, amidst very intense ‘noises’, especially the incessant political pressure led by none other than Fourth Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and band of motley crew in unbelievable political circus stunts.

This being harped on and hyped up continuously by pro-Opposition and Neo-Con Jewish controlled media, which paints totally far from facts picture about 1MDB and all the unsubstantiated alleged white collar criminal acts within and about the Ministry of Finance Inc. strategic investment company.

Now that the Public Accounts Committee which consist of MPs of both sides of the bench that already convened and investigated the relevant parties of and within 1DMB, with the full authority of His Majesty’s Parliament, the capital matters have been resolved.

The Executive was never involved in the decisions made and operations and implementations executed by the Management. Yet, rumours compounded on the scandals and contentious stories about 1MDB had been lies upon lies, harped on and hyped up.

It was clear from the start it was part of the demonisation of Prime Minister Najib to bring him down. The cash-flow strapped 1MDB Group caused by mismatch and poor aggregation of commercially acquired asset building manoeuvres through borrowings was the best vehicle for the Anti-Najib Campaign to ride and bastardise on.

Everyone had something bad to mud-pelt 1MDB, despite not having the full knowledge and comprehension of the subject matter in totality.

Even at one some few occasions, CIMB Chairman Dato’ Seri Nazir Razak took nasty swipes which include the summary dismissal of CIMB Islamic Bank CEO Badlisyah Ghazali. It was about Badlisyah’s personal opinion on the fake SWIFT codes pertaining to the alleged transfers into bank account of Prime Minister Najib.

Now all of the wounds from the financial claw-back have been resolved, 1MDB as Group is free to move forward.

On plate is the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX), which shall be the most valuable property square mile in the nation and provide very high productivity in Prime Minister Najib’s strategy of taking Malaysia into a high value economy.

Upon completion, TRX is expected to have a gross development value (GDV) of RM 40 billion.

There is still Bandar Malaysia, where 1MDB pass the burden to continue and deliver the mega development of the 486 acres of Bandar Malaysia to the Iskandar Waterfront Holdings – CREC consortium, as the 60% controlling party.

iProperty story quoting the Bernama story:

Bandar Malaysia total GDV estimated at RM160 Billion, says IWH

By The iProperty.com News Team on Mar 22, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR, March 21 — Bandar Malaysia is estimated to involve a cumulative gross development value (GDV) of RM160 billion and will be completed over the next 20 years, says Iskandar Waterfront Holdings (IWH) Executive Vice Chairman Tan Sri Lim Kang Hoo.

Lim said the China Railway Group Ltd (CREC), which acted as a first mover in Bandar Malaysia with its US$2 billion (US$1=RM4.07) commitment to building its regional centre, represents 30% of Bandar Malaysia’s first phase project.

“There will be three phases of development in Bandar Malaysia.

“We will bring in the investors to come in and join hands to develop with us, just like what we are doing in Iskandar Malaysia,” Lim told reporters at a press conference.

CREC President Zhang Zongyan earlier announced that the company would invest US$2 billion to build its regional centre in Bandar Malaysia and would consolidate all its current regional businesses and operations once its new headquarters in Bandar Malaysia is completed.

Zhang made the announcement in the presence of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin and several cabinet ministers at a ceremony here today.

CREC is a Chinese state-owned company and a Global Fortune 500 company which was ranked 71st in 2015.

At the same press conference, Zhang said CREC’s project in Bandar Malaysia will kick off next year and may create up to 10,000 jobs.

CREC’s development blueprint includes an integrated underground city modelled after Canada’s Montreal underground city, with dedicated space for financial and commercial centres, tourism and shopping facilities, high-end corporate offices, theme park and themed theatres, said Zhang.

On the high-speed rail project, Zhang said the company may bid for the project if it is invited to participate in the tender.

The Bandar Malaysia development is being developed under the public-private partnership (PPP) model with the Ministry of Finance holding 40% of the development company and the IWH-CREC consortium holding 60%.

IWH is also a PPP company with the Johor State Government, through Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor, owning 40 per cent of the company and the remaining 60 per cent by Credence Resource Sdn Bhd, a company controlled by Lim.

Bandar Malaysia is situated at the old airport site in Sungai Besi just seven kilometres from Kuala Lumpur city centre.

— BERNAMA

Read more at http://focus.iproperty.com.my/news/1010/bandar-malaysia-total-gdv-estimated-at-rm160-billion-says-iwh#VXeGgBC1ulI41Yyt.99

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According to IWH, a GDV of RM160 billion could be realised from Bandar Malaysia. The two, would aggregate a whopping RM200 billion in GDV. That is substantial contribution from the MOF Inc. strategic investment company.

That is not withstanding the other parcels of land which 1MDB is holding and could be turned into very productive development project, for each respective areas.

Group President Arul summed everything up quite nicely.

Straits Times story:

My job is done, says chief of embattled 1MDB fund Arul Kanda

Arul Kanda, president of 1MDB, says his job was to turn the fund around and sort out its debt. “From my perspective, I’m done,” he said in an interview.

PUBLISHEDMAR 31, 2016, 12:49 PM SGT

KUALA LUMPUR (BLOOMBERG) – Former investment banker Arul Kanda took a job in Malaysia last year and walked into the crossfire of the country’s biggest political crisis since Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak came to power in 2009.

Now, even as the finances of 1Malaysia Development Bhd. (1MDB) are being investigated in at least three countries, Kanda, president of the government-linked fund, says his job sorting out the organisation is done.

“I only signed up for one-third of what I ended up doing,” he said in an interview on Wednesday (March 30) at the fund’s headquarters in Kuala Lumpur. “I did not sign up for the investigations because that happened after I joined, and I definitely didn’t sign up for the extent of the comms-slash-politics that I had to deal with.”
Mr Kanda was brought in in January 2015 when the debt-ridden fund was teetering on the edge of default. Within months the company became embroiled in allegations of financial irregularities that sparked probes in Malaysia, Singapore and Switzerland.

1MDB, whose advisory board is headed by Mr Najib, has consistently denied wrongdoing.

Kanda echoes statements by Mr Najib and other government officials that the allegations are unfounded and politically motivated. He said 1MDB hasn’t been contacted by any foreign legal authorities to help with investigations.

“The misunderstandings about 1MDB stem from the fact that what was a business problem became politicised and became a tool by the opposition or those not aligned with the government to topple a democratically-elected prime minister and government,” he said. “That’s the reality of it.”

He says his job was to turn 1MDB around and sort out its debt.

“From my perspective, I’m done,” said Mr Kanda, a trained lawyer. “Everything’s signed. Legal agreements are there, they’re binding. I’m leaving the company” with available funds, he said.

1MDB will repay RM6 billion (S$2.07 billion) in the next three weeks, leaving it free of short-term debt and bank loans and with at least 2.3 billion ringgit in the bank, Kanda said.

It announced last week the settlement of a RM700 million syndicated term loan. 1MDB will also sign a term sheet for the development of its land parcel in the state of Penang in about two weeks, he said.

“We don’t need any money from our shareholders to get us to 2039” when the last bonds are due, said Mr Kanda, who signed up for a three-year term at the fund. “There is no bailout of 1MDB.”

Set up by the government in 2009 to build infrastructure with borrowed money, 1MDB amassed about RM42 billion of debt in less than five years, largely from assets in the energy sector.

It started facing cash-flow problems in 2014 after a planned initial public offering of energy unit Edra Global Energy was delayed by an unfavourable market. Kanda raised money to pay the debt by selling assets including Edra, which was bought by China General Nuclear Power Corp. for RM9.83 billion.

Mr Kanda said 1MDB will retain land and assets that will allow it to pay off outstanding bonds. They include the 70-acre Tun Razak Exchange financial district, or TRX, in downtown Kuala Lumpur, named after Mr Najib’s father.

“Why don’t I want to sell it off today and pay off the debt? Because I think it’s going to be worth more over time.”

1MDB’s 2023 notes traded on Wednesday at a level last seen in April 2015, according to Bloomberg-compiled prices. Investors would have gained 30 per cent if they’d bought the securities at their lowest point of 71.6 cents on Oct 2. The bonds were sold at par of 100 cents in March 2013 in a deal arranged by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and rated at A- or four levels above junk by Standard & Poor’s.

Critics questioned Goldman’s earnings from arranging bond sales for 1MDB in 2012 and 2013. Goldman made about US$593 million from three bond sales that raised US$6.5 billion, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, dwarfing what banks typically make from government deals.

Mr Tim Leissner, then Goldman’s South-east Asia chairman, was an adviser to the state fund from early on, according to a former colleague familiar with the bond sales.

“There were large requirements and Goldman was one of the few firms, in fact the only firm, that could provide the solution that was required,” Mr Kanda said. “Overall the objectives were met.”

Mr Leissner left Goldman earlier this year after questions about the fund, his work on an Indonesian mining deal and an allegedly inaccurate reference letter. His lawyer Jonathan Cogan did not respond to messages. Goldman has previously defended the Malaysia fees as representing its underwriting risks and market conditions at the time.

Still, even after 1MDB pares its assets and debts, allegations may continue to dog Mr Najib as questions linger over US$681 million which appeared in his personal accounts before the last election in 2013.

Malaysia’s attorney-general said the funds were a donation from the Saudi royal family and has cleared the prime minister of any wrongdoing.

The central bank said in October its probe of 1MDB found inaccurate disclosures by the company when it sought approvals for investments abroad, prompting the regulator to revoke the permissions given and instructing the repatriation of more than US$1.8 billion related to multiple deals.

It also proposed criminal proceedings against 1MDB, something the attorney-general dismissed as it concluded there was no wrongdoing.

This month, former premier Mahathir Mohamad filed a lawsuit against Mr Najib, alleging he “actively and deliberately” sought to derail investigations by local agencies into 1MDB, according to a statement by Dr Mahathir’s lawyers.

Mr Najib has denied the allegations.

For his part, Mr Kanda says he’s done what he was asked to do.

“My job is to come in, identify the problem, put together the solution, help” people to stay focused, he said, “I’ve done it, now I need to move on.”

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The skeptics and disbelievers may continue to be in their make-belief world of controversies, contentions and scandals but facts are what they are.

Now that ‘Rationalisation Plan’ Group President Arul introduced on 29 May 2016 has been fully executed and the implementation of each projects are on the way, our attention should only be up and ride on all the goodness from the salvaged 1MDB which definitely brought about betterment for Malaysia.

*Updated 1800hrs

Published in: on April 9, 2016 at 13:00  Comments (3)  

Praeter opportunus oculus

It is pertinent to determine the motive of WSJ Financial Editor Ken Brown’s rabid markings on the USD690million ‘donation’ which allegedly credited into Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak’s personal Ambank account did not originate from individuals of Saudi but monies schemed of transactions relating to 1MDB.

Pro-Anwarista news portal story:

RM2.6 billion in Najib’s accounts not from Saudis, says WSJ editor

Published: 18 February 2016 9:21 PM

WSJ finance editor has refuted that the RM2.6 billion ‘donation’ in Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s accounts did not come from the Saudi royal family as stated by the attorney-general. – AFP file pic, February 18, 2016.
WSJ finance editor has refuted that the RM2.6 billion ‘donation’ in Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s accounts did not come from the Saudi royal family as stated by the attorney-general. – AFP file pic, February 18, 2016.
The billions of ringgit that ended up in Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s accounts did not come from the Saudi royal family, but companies related to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) finance editor Ken Brown said.

Brown told Australia’s ABC News in an interview that they had evidence to back this up, and that ongoing international investigations into 1MDB would likely lead authorities to Najib.

“Our reporting has shown for months now that the money did not come from the Saudis but it came via a bunch of companies and bank accounts related to 1MDB.

“Our story hasn’t been called into question yet and we have lots of evidence to back that up,” said Brown in the interview, which was uploaded onto ABC News on February 12.
He said the “real action” now were the overseas investigations into 1MDB, and said information would slowly trickle out in the next few months.

“I think, you know, it will be hard to keep it away from the PM,” said Brown, referring to the direction of the investigations.

Brown added he believed Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali’s proposed amendments to the Official Secrets Act 1972 came about because the government wanted Malaysians to stop talking about the money Najib received.

Calling the proposed amendments an “extreme action”, he said it was no surprise that it was mooted shortly after Apandi directed investigations into the funds be closed.

“They’ve gotten a big backlash from that and now they come out and say no one can speak about that,” said Brown.

He said the proposal to charge journalists who refused to disclose their sources was also a move to cripple news organisations.

“Last year they shut down a couple of news organisation that had been reporting on the scandal. So this is part of that.

“They’re really trying to limit hat because the more they come down the more it looks worse for the government.”

In July last year, WSJ and the Sarawak Report reported that SRC International Sdn Bhd had transferred RM42 million into Najib’s personal bank accounts.

The sums were transferred between December 2014 and February 2015 through SRC International’s subsidiaries, Gandingan Mentari Sdn Bhd and a separate company, Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd, a private company set up to manage 1MDB’s corporate social responsibility contributions.

But after six months of investigation, Apandi on January 26 said there was no criminal wrongdoing as the funds Najib received was a donation from “the Saudi royal family”. – February 18, 2016.

– See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/rm2.6-billion-in-najibs-accounts-not-from-saudis-says-wsj-editor#sthash.LEHQjJU1.dpuf

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It is true WSJ broke to story last July which drew unprecedented controversy on the public perception towards Prime Minister Najib. However, it is not necessarily the complete truth what Brown wrote and WSJ published.

The fact is that, PAC and Auditor General have yet to complete their investigations. What is known so far, the Rupert Murdoch’s WSJ and Open Society Foundation funded rogue London-based-blog which started to demonise BN leadership in sarawak and then Sabah, Sarawak Report, claims have not been substantiated with indisputable evidence.

1MDB ‘Rationalisation Plan’ briefed to the Cabinet on 29 May with a deadline of sort out all the RM42billion financial commitments and borrowings, within one year.

What is interesting about the whole 1MDB scandal is that so many parties, be it rogues like Khairuddin Hassan, Matthias Chang, Opposition MPs such as Tony Pua and Rafizi Ramli and foreign media have been incessantly harping on the notion that its under watchful eyes of the world community.

They are bent on authorities such as the Americans, British, Swiss, Hongkies and Singaporeans are coming with the deadliest forensics to catch the criminals, which insinuates the involvement of Prime Minister Najib.

The fact is that non of these authorities ever in touch with 1MDB or the Attorney General, to require their co-operation so that investigations are on its way.

So many trumpeting not no real fire to justify the smokes they have claimed, so many within the international community is irritated about.

The western media, particularly the ones funded by Neo Con Jewish communities are incessant to be an effective tool in demonising Prime Minister Najib and cast a negative perception against the Malaysian Government.

The most recent WSJ story by Ken Brown is an example how the Neo Con Jewish controlled media is trying to hype and harp that the USD690million ‘political donation from Saudi individuals of the Kingdom’s Royal family’ is actually monies embezzled from 1MDB related transactions.

Even BBC carried the story, as per how Attorney General Tan Sri Append Ali proclaimed it to be.

Saudi gift to Malaysia PM Najib Razak ‘for election campaign’

By Frank Gardner
BBC News
27 January 2016
From the section Asia
Malaysia’ Prime Minister Najib Razak (C) reacts as he walks towards his car after attending a parliamentary session in Kuala Lumpur on 26 January 2016Image copyrightAFP

Najib Razak has consistently denied allegations of corruption
The $681m (£479m) deposited in the bank account of Malaysian PM Najib Razak by Saudi Arabia was to help him win the 2013 elections, a Saudi source says.

Malaysia’s attorney general cleared Mr Najib of allegations of corruption on Tuesday after ruling that the money was a donation from the Saudi royal family.

Mr Najib had denied that the money came from state investment fund 1MDB.
The Saudi source said the donation was made amid concern in Riyadh about the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood.

At the time, Malaysia’s opposition alliance included the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS). Its founders were inspired by the Brotherhood, although there is little evidence the Brotherhood actually has much support in Malaysia.

Mr Najib’s coalition went on to win the election, but with one of its poorest showings in more than 50 years in power.

Malaysia’s ‘mysterious millions’ – case solved?
1MDB: The case riveting Malaysia
Profile: Najib Razak
The secretive donation to Mr Najib was allegedly paid over in several wire transfers between late March 2013 and early April 2013, just ahead of the election on 5 May.
The well-placed Saudi source, who has asked not to be named, told the BBC the payment was authorised from the very top – from Saudi Arabia’s late King Abdullah – with funds coming from both his personal finances and state funds.

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah speaks in 2014Image copyrightAFP
Image caption

A Saudi source said the donation was approved by the late King Abdullah
Prince Turki bin Abdullah, one of the king’s sons, is reported to have had extensive business dealings in Malaysia.
The purpose of the donation was simple, said the Saudi source – it was to help Mr Najib and his coalition win the election, employing a strategic communications team with international experience, focusing on the province of Sarawak, and funding social programmes through party campaigning.

But why should the Saudis care about an election in a non-Arab country more than 6,000 km (3,700 miles) away? The answer, the source said, lay in their concerns over the rising power of the Muslim Brotherhood, which they consider a terrorist organisation.

The Saudis were already upset at events in Egypt, where President Mohammed Morsi was busy consolidating the Brotherhood’s hold on the country.
Supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi in Cairo in June 2012Image copyrightGetty Images
Image caption

Saudi Arabia was concerned by the rise of Mohammed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt
It would be another three months before Mr Morsi was to be deposed by the army, and the Saudis were convinced that the opposition was being supported by the Brotherhood and Qatar, which backed the Brotherhood and other Islamist groups in the Middle East.

Very murky’
So how unusual is it for the Saudi royal family to hand over this amount of cash in a personal donation? Not at all, said the Saudi insider, adding that Jordan, Morocco, Egypt and Sudan have all been beneficiaries of multi-$100m donations from the Saudi royal purse.

“There is nothing unusual about this donation to Malaysia,” he said. “It is very similar to how the Saudis operate in a number of countries.”

Saudi Arabia was quick to support the overthrow of Mr Morsi in Egypt, providing the military-backed government with billions of dollars in aid and loans.

Malaysia’s Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali shows money flow charts at a news conference in Putrajaya, Malaysia, 26 January 2016Image copyrightEPA
Image caption
Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali says no further action needs to be taken on the donation
Jordan has been the beneficiary of more than $1bn in Saudi development funding, while Riyadh has deposited more than $1bn in Sudan’s central bank and signed deals to finance dams on the Nile. Morocco has been provided with oil, financing, investments and jobs in recent years.

However, questions are still being asked about the secretive and convoluted nature of the money transfer, and the fact that Malaysia’s prime minister returned 91% of it just four months later. The remaining $61m has not been accounted for.
A British corporate investigator with extensive experience of the Middle East told the BBC that the $681m was paid through the Singapore branch of a Swiss bank owned by the rulers of Abu Dhabi.

“It is very murky”, he said. “This case will never be fully cleared up until the Saudis and the Malaysians release all the transaction data, and that has not happened.”

There has been growing outrage in some circles in Malaysia that the attorney-general has closed the file on this case and cleared the prime minister of any offences.

Clare Rewcastle Brown, who has reported extensively on the issue for the Sarawak Report, said the claim that the payment to Mr Najib was a Saudi royal donation for political purposes needed to be treated “with considerable caution”.

She told the BBC that the $681m was far more likely to be connected to money raised by 1MDB, much of which is reported to have gone missing.

****************

So what is the agenda?

*Updated 2300hrs

Media statement by 1MDB on WSJ’s latest lies:

Media statement by 1Malaysia Development Berhad

Issued on 19 Feb 2016

For immediate publication

Wall Street Journal’s Allegations Baseless and Unproven

Contrary to the Wall Street Journal’s baseless and unproven allegations, 1MDB has consistently maintained that it has not paid any funds to the personal accounts of the Prime Minister. This has been reiterated by multiple lawful authorities including the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission, the Malaysian Attorney General, and various reputable international publications, who have confirmed that these funds came from Saudi Arabia. To therefore suggest, as the Wall Street Journal has, that their reporting on this matter has never been called into question is not only disingenuous but an outright lie.”

###

Published in: on February 19, 2016 at 09:30  Comments (3)  

8.8m depositors 3, Geng Loceng 0! Hurrah!

The Klang Kirim Geng Loceng who tried so hard to instigate 8.8million TH depositors to rebel against the Government with their contentious and scandalous allegations designed with malice, as part of creating the impression TH was being plundered to ‘bail out’ 1MDB in TRX.

The Edge Market story:

Tabung Haji not selling TRX land but developing it into high-end apartments

By Danial Idraki / theedgemarkets.com | February 4, 2016 : 3:01 PM MYT

KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 4): Lembaga Tabung Haji said it will be developing the 1.6-acre Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) land it had bought from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) into high-end residential apartments worth an estimated gross development value (GDV) of RM820 million.

The decision not to sell but to develop it, according to its chairman Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim, was made after considering the appreciation of the land’s value since Tabung Haji bought the tract.

Abdul Azeez said the land is worth about RM250 million currently, compared to the RM188.5 million price tag it paid to 1MDB to acquire the tract last April, which, in turn, was 43 times the price 1MDB had paid for the plot when it bought the land from the federal government about five years ago.

Tabung Haji’s acquisition had been viewed as a bail-out of sorts for the cash-strapped state-owned investment company at the time and was heavily criticised.

Following the purchase, Tabung Haji said the plot would be sold at a profit and that many buyers had shown interest.

“We [have] reconsidered our position, and decided that it is better to keep and develop the land, since it has gone up in value to about RM3,100 per sq ft from the RM2,773 that we paid for,” Azeez told a press conference after announcing the pilgrim fund’s dividend and bonus payout for its financial year 2015.

He added that Tabung Haji Properties has been given the mandate to develop the land, and that the project is now in its initial planning stage.

Tabung Haji chief executive and deputy group managing director Datuk Johan Abdullah, meanwhile, said the group intends to build high-end residential apartments on the TRX land, with an initial GDV of approximately RM820 million.

“We must also look at the market outlook, which at the moment is depressed for the property sector. But we believe that this development is a good investment for the long term,” Johan added.

*****************

It was part of the strategy to demonise Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak’s leadership and the Klang Kirim Geng Loceng was blatant enough to manipulate half truths, to create a panic for the 8.8 million TH depositors.

It started with the assuringly anonymous blog which produced some of the papers of a TH BoD meeting, about the proposal to acquire the 67,954 sq. ft. parcel earmarked for high end luxury residential/serviced apartments within TRX.

Then some of the Klang Kirim Gang Loceng harped on the matter further, trying io re-controversialise the issue.

Last December Dewan Rakyat sitting, Minister in-charge of TH matters Mej. Jen. (B) Dato’ Seri Jamil Khir Baharom already explained that the  67,954 sq. ft. parcel is too valuable to be hived off.

Published in: on February 4, 2016 at 21:00  Comments (3)  

Value of friendship

One may find the value of friendship and even comradeship when one is at one’s the lowest ebb. The Star summed up the story about the capital market player who is the man about town at the moment.

The Star story:

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Ironically, ‘Repco Low”, who was found guilty, dislikes being known as ‘Repco Low’

BY B.K. SIDHU

Someone associated with Low says that he would walk the extra mile just to help a friend even with all his troubles.

PETALING JAYA: Ironically, Low Thiam Hock dislikes being known by his monicker “Repco Low” which thrust him into the limelight. He has not been able to shed the nickname that has somewhat metamorphised into a term commonly used in the local stock market when stocks hit euphoric levels.

Low, first emerged in the mid 1990s, when he took over this smallish car parts and lubricants company – Repco Holdings Bhd that was listed on the second board. It was just before the second board stock market run-up that started in 1996.

The Malaysian stock market in the mid-1990s was the hottest stock market as there wasn’t a more speculative one in the world than the second board.

The run in the second board started in 1996 and ended when the crisis came about in mid-1997. The second board companies generally had little liquidity considering that its minimum listing requirement was RM20mil. The tight liquidity caused the share price to move up to dizzy levels – mostly without fundamentals backing them up.

It was also quite common to see second board stocks worth RM20, RM40 and even RM70 a share.

Repco was among those that went above the normal levels – it shot up from it lowest point of a few ringgit to over RM100.

Traders were also taking advantage of the long settlement period then which was T+7 (payment is seven days after buying shares) compared to the current ruling of T+3. As Repco stock price surged, so did the popularity of Low, who was Repco’s executive chairman.

Repco’s rise in stock price in the mid-1990s was fuelled by proposals that the company was to take over Sabah based-Innosabah Securities Sdn Bhd – a move that did not materialise.

The company then ventured into Sabah’s gaming sector to operate a four-digit game. It also announced several other ventures and all this pushed the share price very high.

It was helped by the fact that during those years, a large number of stock market punters had not gone through a crash and were still hoping to make a pile after having tasted it during the 1993 KLSE bull run.

Repco hit a historical high of RM140.50 per share in September 1997 but collapsed to RM2.98 less than a year later. Subsequently in 2000, the stock’s trading was suspended and de-listed three years later.

Low is someone who talks very fast and sometimes it is very hard to make out what he is saying. But yet, he has a simple look and can blend in the crowd.

His meeting point in the mid-1990s was the old KL Hilton Hotel and he was often surrounded by several bodyguards.

Since the late 1990s, his name has not surfaced in any of the local stocks although there is always speculation of his involvement.

Someone associated with Low says that he would walk the extra mile just to help a friend even with all his troubles.

In his heyday, punters often liked stocks that were related to Low although his name never appeared anywhere in the list of shareholders.

In the process, many lost money betting on someone who they probably have never seen before.

*********************

The support that Low is getting from the landmark case of persecution by the Securities Commission, which expanded over the span of 17 years, is very inspiring.

The Session Court decision brought upon SC’s in what seemingly about ‘selective prosecution, is a precedence which triggered the contentious concerns by capital and financial market players.

The Star story:

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

‘Repco’ Low found guilty in case running over 17 years

BY EUGENE MAHALINGAM

The case which epitomises the SC’s fight against stock manipulation was heard in front of about 40 people and some of them did not realise that the man found guilty was synonymous with the name “Repco Low”. (Guilty as charged: Low (right) and his lawyers at the Jalan Duta Sessions Court yesterday. – Bernama)
The case which epitomises the SC’s fight against stock manipulation was heard in front of about 40 people and some of them did not realise that the man found guilty was synonymous with the name “Repco Low”. (Guilty as charged: Low (right) and his lawyers at the Jalan Duta Sessions Court yesterday. – Bernama)

KUALA LUMPUR: The high-profile case of the Securities Commission (SC) against Low Thiam Hock that has raged on for 17 years took a fresh turn yesterday when the Sessions Court found the latter guilty of manipulating the shares of Repco Holdings Bhd.

The case which epitomises the SC’s fight against stock manipulation was heard in front of about 40 people and some of them did not realise that the man found guilty was synonymous with the name “Repco Low”.

In passing his verdict, Judge Mat Ghani Abdullah found Low, the former executive chairman of Repco, had failed to raise a reasonable doubt on the prosecution’s case, and that his defence only amounted to a bare denial and an afterthought.

Low, 53, appeared calm when the verdict was read.

Low was ordered to surrender his passport, while bail was maintained at RM300,000.

A prosecutor from the SC said she was involved in the case for the past 17 years.

Low, accompanied by lawyers, left the courts without speaking to reporters.

Mat Ghani held that the court was satisfied that Low, through the manner of buying 227,000 units of Repco shares on Dec 3, 1997, had in fact created a misleading appearance as to the price of Repco shares on the stock exchange.

He was charged in 1999 under Section 84(1) of the Securities Industry Act 1983 (SIA) after committing the offence in 1997.

Under the Act, Low faces a minimum fine of RM1mil and maximum jail term of up to 10 years. The court has set Jan 19 for sentencing.

Better known as Repco Low in stock market circles, Low got his nickname when he was a director of Repco, at a time when the Sabah-based gaming company’s stock was a high-flier in the 1996 second board stock market bull run.

The company’s shares flew to a high of RM140.50 per share in September 1997 but collapsed to just RM2.98 less than a year later. In October 2000, the stock was suspended from trading on Bursa Malaysia and de-listed three years later.

Low was charged in the Sessions Court in 1999 with allegedly instructing a representative of Sime Securities Sdn Bhd to buy Repco shares by taking up any offer price for the shares by sellers on the then Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange.

This was an act calculated to create a misleading appearance with respect to the price of Repco shares on the share market.

Low, who is from Kota Kinabalu, was alleged to have committed the offence at the 21st floor of Sime Securities, Bangunan Sime Bank in Jalan Sultan Sulaiman, Kuala Lumpur on Dec 3, 1997.

On Nov 14, 2006, the Sessions Court acquitted Low without ordering him to enter his defence after finding that the charge against him was defective.

On Oct 15, 2010, the High Court dismissed the prosecution’s appeal and upheld Low’s acquittal.

However, in 2013, following an appeal by the SC, the Court of Appeal unanimously overturned the decision by the High Court and Sessions Court to acquit Low over manipulating the price of Repco.

Low was then ordered to enter his defence at the Sessions Court. Throughout the course of the 17-year case, nearly 30 witnesses were called from both sides, including stock market and stock valuation experts.

*****************

Let us not add the political bit into the equation, which could be for another day.

Rumours compounded through the vines are pointing towards that Low is expected to stand up against the judgment and sentencing, then many capital and financial market payers and experts would reflect how SC make the interpretation of the Capital and Securities Markets Act 2007 (CMSA).

This is an interesting synopsis of the longest stock manipulation case in the country, probably the world.

Thursday, 28 February 2013

“Repco Low”: Justice delayed is justice denied

Article from Malaysian Insider’s website, in chronological sequence:
Low (former executive chairman of Repco Holdings Bhd) was alleged to have instructed a representative of Sime Securities Sdn Bhd to buy Repco Holdings shares by taking up any offer price of the shares by sellers on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange.

This was an act calculated to create a misleading appearance with respect to the price of Repco shares on the share market.

He committed the offence at the 21st floor of Sime Securities, Bangunan Sime Bank in Jalan Sultan Sulaiman, Kuala Lumpur between 11am and 5pm on Dec 3, 1997.
Low was charged in the Sessions Court in 1999
On Nov 14, 2006, the Sessions Court acquitted Low without ordering him to enter his defence after finding that the charge against him was defective.
On Oct 15, 2010, the High Court dismissed the prosecution’s appeal and upheld Low’s acquittal.
February 28, 2013: The Court of Appeal here today ordered businessman Low Thiam Hock, popularly known as Repco Low, to enter his defence on a charge of share manipulation.
Every old hand (and I am myself one) remembered the “Wild West” days when Repco was trading above RM 100.

I still remembered a buy-recommendation from my broker (TA Securities) at around RM 110, with a price target of RM 160 (I can’t remember the exact details, but roughly these numbers should be correct).

It all had to do with a lottery license which might or might not get approved. However, bubbles don’t last forever, and reality did strike, also for Repco’s share price.

In 1995 Repco was trading at RM 4.36, this is what happened:

“At the Sessions Court, expert witnesses testified that the price of Repco, which opened at RM108.50 per lot closed at RM113 on Dec 3, 1997.

The very next day, the court heard, when there were no buying activities, the price tumbled to RM110 and further dropped to RM11.20 in three weeks.”

The offence allegedly took place in 1997, but 16 years later the court case is still on going? Quite unbelievable. As they say, “Justice delayed is Justice denied”.

The Securities Commission has initiated another case which also involved “Repco Low”, the article can be found here.

“From September 2005 to May 2006, the price of Iris shares rose by 17 times from eight sen to close at a high of RM1.36 on the back of very strong demand with an average of 200 million shares being traded daily.

The SC’s investigation found that the manipulation was carried out through a complex layering of the origination of the orders and transactions via foreign intermediaries in several jurisdictions”

***********************

It is believed many of the capital and financial market players in Malaysia and all over the region, would stand up for the principles that Low is standing by and for, defying the interpretation of the charge of the CMSA and rejected technicalities to explain the ‘manipulation’ bit.

They would be affected too since the precedence from this case would affect them and automatically greatly impair the players to go into bourses, to acquire stocks which are offered openly in the market.

Let us follow this case closely and watch what shall transpire from the details about the case.

More interestingly, how the case was probably a sting operation by an authority which  strategic and key personnel then were handpicked  and stood loyal as  imperial guards by then the monster which Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad created; Anwar bin Ibrahim.

Published in: on January 14, 2016 at 23:59  Leave a Comment  

It is time for everyone to pull their socks, together

It is the time for everyone to put their personal and political interest aside and come together as nation is in peril, mainly due to unavoidable external factors such as the sundry of global economic recession, escalating geo-political conflict, low global demands, sluggish global financial and capital markets.

NST story:

Najib: 2016 Budget to be adjusted in line with global economic developments

[VIDEO] 8 JANUARY 2016 @ 9:56 AM

PUTRAJAYA: The 2016 Budget will be adjusted soon, taking into account the current global economic developments.

Announcing this today, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the strengthening of the US dollar, plummeting oil prices and major commodities, as well as the shrinking of major economies such as China, were among the factors taken into consideration.

“When I tabled the 2016 Budget, oil prices were at US$48 a barrel. Yesterday, the price was US$31.58. “As such, the 2016 Budget will have to undergo a recalibration in line with the current economic situation.

“I do not want to paint an unrealistic picture that isn’t based on facts. “It is better to be honest and upfront in our responsibility to uphold the best interests of the rakyat,” he said in a special assembly with Finance Ministry staff this morning.

Najib, who is also Finance Minister, described 2016 as a challenging year, especially in terms of the economy. He said the Goods and Services Tax (GST) net revenue for 2016 is expected to reach RM39 billion.

Najib said had the GST not been implemented, Malaysia’s deficit would increase to 4.8 per cent instead of 3.1 per cent this year.

Read More : http://www.nst.com.my/news/2016/01/121079/najib-2016-budget-be-adjusted-line-global-economic-developments-video

*************

The Star story:

Friday, 8 January 2016 | MYT 9:41 AM

Najib: Budget 2016 to be recalibrated

BY MAZWIN NIK ANIS

PUTRAJAYA: The 2016 Budget will be “recalibrated” to reflect the current eco‎nomic climate, says Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The Prime Minister said that adjustments would have to be made to this year’s budget as much had changed since it was tabled last October.

“This is to ensure that it is accurate, realistic and according to the economic situation we are currently facing,” he said when addressing Finance Ministry staff on Friday.

Najib, however, did not give a specific date when the adjusted Budget would be presented, but indicated that this would be done soon.

The changes would include additional measures to be taken to optimise expenditure and the role of Government-linked companies.

The Prime Minister assured that despite the adjustments to the 2016 Budget, the people’s well-being would continue to be the Government’s priority.

*************

The nation needs the resources, energy and attention of everyone. The Government is preparing to realign the planned economy 2016, which needed to take into the consideration all the volatility and changes in the variables.

The firms, enterprises and commercial entities must do their bit to ensure the Government is successful in bracing the the economic crunch. Despited the forecast GDP growth is still good, the slide of earlier projected GDP growth with revision from 4.5-4.8% to 3.1-3.4% is telling about the brunt on the Federal Government income.

When Budget 2015 was prepared before Oct 2015, it was projected the crude oil would be at USD48.00 per barrel. Today, the Federal Government is ready to a revised projection of a barrel of crude oil for USD32-35.00.

That would translate to a reduction of revenue for the Federal Government by RM4.5billion.

Federal Government is committed that existing essential subsidies such as a list of food items, medicines, gas for energy, oil and other subsistence such as BR1M and other programs, shall not be reduced.

Prime Minister Najib did ask all Federal Government arms to look into reduction of spending and lowering cost of operation, without impairing service especially to the rakyat.

Hence, the reduction of income would naturally be mitigated with trying into increase revenue from heightening productivity of economic activities, other direct and indirect taxes and lowering spending (such as allowing concession holders to increase charges in lieu of compensation).

On top of that, utilising reserves to reduce and treatment against long term financial commitments.

Improving the collection of revenue would definitely help and tight controls against leakages, wastage and excesses would be the combined compounded variables towards a more positive position of the Treasury coffer.

Tighter enforcement is a boon for revenue of regulators, local authorities, law enforcement agencies and all revenue collection entities be it in the Federal or State Governments.

In all, it is a responsibility of all. Politicians (ruling, opposition and independent), civil servants, GLCs, MNCs, private sectors, SMEs/SMIs, petty traders, workers union, all and sundry to pull up their socks.

Published in: on January 8, 2016 at 23:00  Comments (2)  

A sound decision

Minister in-charge of Islamic Affairs in the Prime Minister’s Department Maj. Gen. Dato’ Seri Jamil Khir Baharom admitted the Tabung Haji parcel for luxury residence in Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) which was with malice made contentious by a rogue blogger slightly over six months ago, is too valuable to be hived away.

The Malay Mail online story:

LTH land in TRX too profitable to sell, minister says

Tuesday December 29, 2015

 

 

According to Malaysiakini, the minister said this in a parliamentary reply on December 3 when explaining the delay behind the fund’s plan in May to sell the 1.56-acre plot.

“The land at TRX has high value in terms of integrated development, strategic location and return on investments,” Jamil Khir was quoted saying in the reply to PAS’s Temerloh MP Nasrudin Hassan.

The minister, citing news reports, also said that LTH had purchased the plot for RM2,773 per square foot (psf) when other buyers paid between RM3,000psf and RM4,500psf.

He added that the purchase is expected to rake in an estimated profit of about RM177.5 million.

Nasrudin had reportedly asked Putrajaya to explain why LTH had delayed selling the TRX land.

LTH had purchased the land from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) for RM188.5 million in April but was subjected to much scrutiny from various parties for allegedly using public funds to bail out the state investor.

The pilgrimage fund made a decision to immediately sell off the land soon after but Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak insisted in August that LTH was making a mistake by doing so.

He instead said the negative perception towards TRX and the land deal was created by people with bad intentions, who wanted to “create negative perception on the deal”.

LTH has yet to sell off the land despite promising to do so by end of May.

****************

In early May, a blogger with the malicious intent to demonise Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak’s leadership broke a story which revealed part truth of TH acquisition of the 67,954 sq. ft. parcel for strategic commercial purpose. It was portrayed that monies of old and poor folks saved in the TH scheme was “Plundered by pirates, to cover for 1MDB financial scandals”.

Undoubtedly, it was with the malice intent to rile up the Malays against Prime Minister Najib and topple him.

As an immediate reaction, TH Chairman Dato’ Seri Azeez Rahim announced that the parcel would be hived off quickly, to recover the investment and bring the matter to rest.

It is a very sound decision to keep the plot. The potential of TRX is enormous. It is proven with the various interest shown and deals quickly taken up, for strategic commercial investments with the newest luxury district within Kuala Lumpur.

Published in: on December 30, 2015 at 14:03  Comments (1)  

Bridging the Gap

Minister of Rural and Regional Development Dato’ Seri Ismail Sabri Yaacob initiative to give a leg up to Bumiputera ICT traders and retailers as part of the Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak’s policy of empowering the Bumiputera economy, has transpired with the initial success of MARA Digitial.

The above the expected demand and sales of the Bumiputera ICT traders and retailers’  first ten days provided the initiative good motivation to replicate the program to other states, despite skepticism.

Channel News Asia story:

Mixed reactions to Malaysia’s first digital mall for Bumiputera traders

The MARA Digital Mall in Kuala Lumpur is the first of a series of Bumiputera-only malls planned across the nation. It is part of the nation’s longstanding policy of affirmative action for ethnic Malays and indigenous groups.

By Sumisha Naidu, Malaysia Correspondent, Channel NewsAsia
Posted 18 Dec 2015 21:43 Updated 18 Dec 2015 22:21

KUALA LUMPUR: In early December, Malaysia launched its “first” digital mall exclusively for traders who are Bumiputera, the collective term for the ethnic Malays and indigenous groups who make up the majority of the Malaysian population.

For six months, shop-owners at the MARA Digital Mall in Kuala Lumpur will not have to pay rent, all part of Rural and Regional Development Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s plans to help “disadvantaged” Bumiputera entrepreneurs break into a lucrative market.

At a press conference, he said: “The opportunities for Bumiputera at other IT malls are scarce. At other IT malls, the rent is too high so the ability of Bumiputera entrepreneurs to rent these places are limited. And the opportunities given for Bumiputera entrepreneurs to rent at these malls are very limited. So we have to provide a place where they can afford the rent and so on.”

The launch of the Bumiputera mall comes months after a protest in July, sparked by a petty theft case at Low Yat Plaza, a digital mall occupied primarily by ethnic Chinese traders.

The mainly Malay protesters accused Chinese traders of swindling Malay customers by overcharging them and selling counterfeit products. In September, these claims were echoed by another group of Malay protesters outside Petaling Street, also known as Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown.

Minister Ismail Sabri then announced plans for the mall in Kuala Lumpur that would give Malay and other Bumiputera traders a level playing field. He said the wheels are now in motion for more such malls to be set up across the country.

It is an idea that has been welcomed by Malay traders who say they have faced discrimination.

“Sometimes when you apply to rent out shop lots, the mall will see what company you’re from, if you’re Malay … If you are, they’ll put aside your application first and prioritise Chinese,” one security camera shop worker told Channel NewsAsia.

Other Malaysians, however, have ridiculed the move on social media.

CHAMPIONING MALAY INTERESTS

But policies championing the rights and advancement of the “native” people of Malaysia are nothing new. The New Economic Policy detailing affirmative action policies was introduced in the 1970s and UMNO, the largest party in the only ruling coalition Malaysia has ever known, is dedicated to championing Malay interests and their “special position”, as recognised in the constitution.

These are policies that have caused tensions in the past among Malaysia’s multi-ethnic population, which includes Chinese and Indians who have lived in the nation for generations.

One of the fiercest advocates for the need for affirmative action for Bumiputera was the nation’s longest-serving prime minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad. But speaking to his supporters on the sidelines of December’s UMNO General Assembly, Dr Mahathir lamented that current Prime Minister Najib Razak had replaced his pro-Bumiputera policies with a more inclusive “1Malaysia” approach.

He accused the Prime Minister of taking away more scholarship spots from needy Malays and giving them to the ethnic Chinese. “1Malaysia means priority is no longer given to Malays and Bumiputeras so that they can improve their economic prospects so they are at the same level as Chinese,” he said.

“I don’t hate other ethnicities but the fact of the matter is they’re richer, they have more opportunities than us,” added Dr Mahathir.

But analyst Amir Fareed Rahim from the KRA Group said that while ethnic Malays may still have some catching up to do in certain areas, it may be time to revisit the notion of socio-economic disparities based on ethnicity.

He told Channel NewsAsia: “There is a growing gap between the rich and the poor in Malaysia and when this happens, you must not look at it from a racial point of view but look at it from an economic perspective. You should help alleviate everyone into a better economic standard rather than looking into races and trying to champion certain causes.”

“IT WILL DESTROY THE SOCIAL FABRIC OF MALAYSIA”

Still, the special position of Bumiputera remains a no-compromise area for many UMNO members and its voter base.

Dr Mahathir accused Mr Najib of suddenly espousing “Malayness” at the recent UMNO AGM because he is “desperate” to win their support.

The Prime Minister and UMNO chairman has been fighting off unproven allegations of corruption, many of them hurled against him by Dr Mahathir himself.

At his opening speech at the general assembly, Mr Najib pledged greater efforts to help Bumiputera and boasted of UMNO’s success in getting the special privileges of Bumiputera recognised at an international level through the 12-nation free trade agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

He told UMNO delegates: “We have made history whereby the TPP members have accepted and acknowledged the Bumiputera policy as part of the terms to the TPP on a global level. This means the UMNO struggle has succeeded, and the Bumiputera agenda is no longer just a national agenda. Now the Bumiputera agenda has been elevated and acknowledged on an international level.”

During the same speech, Mr Najib extended an olive branch to Islamist party PAS, a former member of the now-defunct opposition alliance Pakatan Rakyat.

The move has been viewed as the first steps toward a potential alliance with PAS that could shore up a solid win for UMNO in the next general elections – due by 2018 – thanks to PAS’ strong Malay-Muslim voter base.

But analysts cautioned that this partnership would not be well-received by Malaysia’s non-Muslim population, especially because of PAS’ well-known push to implement a Shariah penal code in the nation.

UMNO’s partners in ruling coalition Barisan Nasional, the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) and the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), are unlikely to be supportive of the move either.

Said Mr Amir: “This PAS-UMNO cooperation in theory makes sense for UMNO. But we must ask the question, at what cost? We understand in the political field that when you go into absolutes, going for the totality of votes for one single segment of society, then you lose the bigger picture.

“The PAS-UMNO cooperation, though it may benefit Malay parties in the short run, in the long run, it will destroy the social fabric of Malaysia. It will create a very hegemonic Malay polity that is not what the founding fathers had in mind when this nation was founded.”

But the ethnic minority vote may now be a low priority for UMNO, after significant swings by Chinese voters toward the Opposition at the last general election.

– CNA/ms

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Some of the traders and retailers in the new MARA Digital managed to source their products from the importers without middlemen, thus able to pass to the consumers a wider range of competitive products and offerings.

This program should be nurtured further beyond the 6 months rent-free as announced by the Minister, with agencies for the development of Bumiputera entrepreneurial and commercial programs coming up with new packages and commercial development programs.

Good financing and letter of credit would enable the expansion of sourcing of goods. Technical support is also a key ingredient of after sales and maintenance program. These would provide upstream the economies of scale, which would be translated in competitive goods offered to consumer.

There on, it should be infused with programs such as vendor and franchise development to enable more Bumiputera traders and retailers be created.

The critics should appreciate this affirmative action program is a progressive form of positive discrimination.

Malaysians should support Ismail Sabri’s blue ocean strategy, as a next phase to the development for the New Economic Policy for the Bumiputera to participate in the retail sector, originally brought forth by Second Prime Minister Tun Hj Abdul Razak Hussein.

Published in: on December 19, 2015 at 18:00  Leave a Comment  
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